Cry Me a Bucket
He hit me because he saw dead babies
in Vietnam. Or is there more litter on
that path that leads to war?
It's not your fault he said. I'm sorry.
It's not your fault he said. Again.
In 15 lonely winters I saw him cry
once for the death of his father,
no more, though his words strangled
me to tear snotty silence over and
over again. Cry me a bucket he mocked
and I would laugh and rub his feet.
And his moody armored silences long
winter days all that warring inside and
no one to fight or kill. Bitch listen to me.
I wondered how many times, how many
women pushed down the stair, how many
bruises, how many wars before surrender?
He sent searing glances my direction,
a silent knife that gleamed above
the conversation of company. He sent
pretty packages too: wool coat, ticket
to London, 40 red roses and 40 thousand
apologies. I'm sorry a lonely echo.
I returned the GI Jane video before it rewound
left the house wound up wounded at reactions to war
and he retreats too, down the stair where later
I find him basking in memory of a morgue,
of murdered babies dead in Vietnam: I saw them
he said, babies and then he cried.
The moment of his confession confessed
my rage tumbles into compassion for this
man-companion sitting in the dark, holding
him loving him hating him fixing him, us
knowing I was going to leave him soon.
It's not you, his refrain as he pushed me from the curb
of a foreign sidewalk, punched a hole in the bedroom door,
and tossed a plate across the room like a Frisbee to no one
where it shattered into pieces. It's not you, as he hurled
a metal wastebasket like a bullet into the desk where I sat.
He punched me once, hard in the arm summer day.
Do as I say bitch. Now. It turned bruise purple yellow
proof, bruise-stunned I drove away without asking,
without telling or asking because there was nothing left.
It was summer long night warring rage and nothing
to kill. Nothing to erase the wounded.